#5ACTC Day 1 Morning Session 1

The University of Canberra is hosting a Cycle Tourism Conference and Rail Trail Symposium today and on Friday.

Dennis PuniardStephen Parker and Lawrence Pratchett welcomed delegates to the campus and the conference.

After their welcomes the conference started with two keynote addresses by Matt Lamont and Chris Bull.

Matt is one of a small number of academics in Australia with a PhD in cycle tourism. Matt’s  keynote presentation had two parts: setting the scene for the conference; and exploring demand side issues (meaning and motives for cycle tourism and understanding experiences through grounded theory approaches).

In his introduction, Matt looked at the cycle tourism literature and identified six issues:

  • Outside home environment (how far?)
  • Single day or multi day?
  • Competitive cycling (travel to compete?)
  • Active or passive participation?
  • Leisure, recreation or both?
  • Cycling as a trip purpose or trip behaviour?

Matt looked at cycling outside the home environment:

  • Independent cycle tourist
  • Recreational cyclists
  • Participatory events
  • Spectators (the focus of Matt’s keynote presentation)
  • Competitive cyclists

In his review of the literature on cycle tourism, Matt identified four strands: conceptualisation (definitions, market segmentation), socio-economic (expenditure, benefits to host communities), motivations (independent cycle tourists, mass participation events), and destinations (destination attributes, impediments).

In the second part of his talk, Matt explored active spectators as cycle tourists . He asked why do these tourists go on these events and what meanings are constructed from their participation? Matt described his ethnographic approach to answering this question as a participant observer at a Tour de France  2011 tour in the Alps and Paris. Matt kept a field log, photos, and conducted interviews during his time on the tour.

Some key findings from Matt’s qualitative grounded enquiry were:

  • The quest for authentic experience (overcoming the tyranny of distance)
  • Embodiment (physical connection with unfamiliar landscapes).
  • Nostalgia (connecting with the history and heritage of the Tour)
  • Visiting shrines on and of the Tour de France
  • Nationalism (seeing countrymen in action).

In the second keynote, Chris presented a systematic review of evidence for the local impacts of tourism and leisure cycling. He shared work of the SPEAR unit at Canterbury Christ Church University in preparing a review for Kent County Council.  Chris noted the work of Mike Weed and Matt Brown as lead contributors in the review. Kent County Council as the commissioning agency wanted to explore the establishment of cycle ways. A primary question was what would be the social, economic, environmental and health benefits of investment in the most appropriate infrastructure?

Chris shared the methodology of the review process including a literature search for the period 1990-2010 and the use of grey literature (reports and surveys). 50 research reports formed the basis of the review.

The review has identified a segmented market of tourists to the region:

  • Near residents
  • Far residents
  • Near daytrippers
  • Far daytrippers
  • Near holidayers
  • Far holidayers
  • Cycle tourers

Chris noted some factors affecting tourism and cycling:

  • Traffic free routes (a prerequisite for many tourists, in the UK the National Cycling Network 85% use the one third of the network that is traffic free).
  • Other route factors: clear signage and waymarking; route maps and guidebooks; circular routes (but these may attract more cars); accurate distance and cycle time information; routes 15-30 miles average; wide paths for social aspect of cycling.
  • Secondary factors: location and scenery (accessibility, connectedness, proximity to holiday areas)
  • Social dimensions, health factors (fitness, exercise and a non-sport activity), promotional aspects (non specialist recreation, lycra-free).

Chris suggested that health factors appear to offer a significant saving to the health system. Data indicate that the net health and productivity benefits of the National Cycling Network yields of 295 million pounds sterling from 193 million network journeys. There is evidence to suggest that cycle tourism has any environmental effect other than that experienced through hiking and horse riding.

There are some issues about car use in cycle tourism trails that use circular routes but even here the connectedness may help local residents to reduce their own car use.

Chris concluded his talk with the following points:

  • Near and far holiday makers appear to offer most value
  • Traffic free cycle routes are very important as destination choice
  • There are health care benefits that accrue from cycle tourism
  • Environmental implications no greater than other activities.

Photo Credits

Climbing on the Aubisque on foot

Cyclists climbing over closed railway crossing

No help for Guisto Cerutti

Women in Sport and Business Luncheon

The University of Canberra hosted a Women in Sport and Business Luncheon in the Ann Harding Centre today.

Stephen Parker and Heather Reid opened the luncheon. Grace Gill was the MC.

There were four speakers:

In her introduction to the speakers, Grace provided the luncheon guests with an insight into her season with Canberra United. She discussed how she combined work duties with her 80 training sessions, games and travel.

Each of the speakers shared their experiences of sport and business. Kate Lundy spoke about the place of sport in society, its contribution to the public good and its potential for social cohesion and inclusion. She noted the importance of the 2006 Senate Report About time! Women in sport and recreation in Australia.

Jane shared her experiences as a partner in the accountancy firm RSM Bird Cameron. She discussed the importance of toughness and confidence in business contexts. She offered some insights into her vocational path. Jane was very clear that she had experienced an equality of opportunity in a profession that celebrated differentness.

Heather discussed her experience in football in Canberra from founding club secretary at ANU (1978) to CEO of Canberra Football (2004) to WLeague Champion success (2011). Heather is now the longest serving CEO in Australian football. She spent part of her talk sharing insights into leadership programs in Canberra and the future for women in football.

Kate Pumpa was the final speaker of the day. She shared her experiences as an exercise scientist and dietician. She noted the range of opportunities she had found in elite sport and women’s health. She gave an example of her current interests including her work on lymphoedema.

This was the first business luncheon of this kind. The Ann Harding Centre was packed and the luncheon ended with some excellent questions from the floor to the panel of speakers.

I was delighted to be able to attend and welcomed the opportunity to celebrate Canberra United’s successful, record-breaking season.

Exciting Learning

Stephen Parker’s Don Aitkin Lecture prompted me to think about exciting learning.

Stephen used two videos in his talk.

The first was a Ken Robinson video.

The total views for this video were 509 (morning of 9 December).

The second video was Live Augmented Reality for National Geographic.

The total views for this video were 48,687 (morning of 9 December).

Whilst thinking about the videos in Stephen’s talk I received a link from Michael de Percy to this video.

It has received 242,053 views (morning of 9 December).

I am thinking that the downhill journey shown in the third video is a great metaphor for exciting learning and contemplating the partnerships that learners and teachers (guides) can develop.